If you want to be more productive at work, or any place for that matter, you have to do one thing: outsmart distractions! Karen Leland is the author of Time Management in an Instant: 60 Ways To Make the Most of Your Day. She offers to following insights about the laws of distraction – so you don’t get caught up in everything but what you’re supposed to be focused on.
- Law #1: Workers spend, on average, about 10 minutes on a task before being interrupted by an outside source – like another coworker, or interrupting themselves – to check email, make a phone call or head to the break room for some coffee. Gloria Mark, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, says it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for people to return to their original task after an interruption. What’s even worse, 40% of the time, workers don’t return to their original task at all! Not good for progress.
- Law #2: According to researchers at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry, when workers are juggling multiple tasks, their IQ falls 10 points.
- Law #3: When we’re distracted, we can become oblivious to what’s going on right in front of us. As an example, videos from the Visual Cognition Laboratory at the University of Illinois show that we can be talking to a stranger, get distracted, then continue the conversation with another stranger, and never even notice that it’s a different person! Experts say our world is much more distracting than we even realize and we don’t cope well with it.
We’re programmed to be easily distracted. So when it comes to being productive, you have to make a focused and disciplined effort to get things done. That means log-off the internet, shut down your email and quit multi-tasking! You’ll get your projects done in record time.